U.S. Airways Arena may be home to the Phoenix Suns, but another team — arguably the most famous basketball team in the world — will take over the court this weekend.
The Harlem Globetrotters bring their masterful skills and comedic antics to the arena Friday and Saturday on their 86th consecutive season tour.
The team blends athleticism, comedy and a bit of theatrics into a basketball game unlike any other.
Notable rookies this season include Paul “Tiny” Sturgess, believed to be the world’s tallest pro basketball player at 7 feet 8 inches, and the top three finishers from the 2011 College Slam Dunk Contest, including reigning champ Jacob “Hops” Tucker.
At 5 feet 10 inches, Tucker boasts a 50-inch vertical leap — and more than four million views of his dunks on YouTube.
The team also features Jonte “Too Tall” Hall, the shortest Globetrotter ever at 5 feet 2 inches, and Fatima “TNT” Maddox, the team’s first female player since 1993 and the ninth female in team history.
Formed in the 1920s, the Globetrotters toured the world, breaking cultural and social barriers along with basketball records. The team was featured on the cover of Life magazine at a time when America was deeply segregated by race. In 1950, Globetrotter Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton became the first African-American player to be drafted by the NBA. At the height of the Cold War, the team went on a sold-out tour of Russia.
Over the years, the Globetrotter line-up has included NBA stars such as Wilt Chamberlain and Magic Johnson.
DETAILS >> 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday. U.S. Airways Center, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix. $15-$130. Infants 23 months and younger may attend free when they sit on the lap of a paid adult. (602) 379-7800 or www.usairwayscenter.com. Information on group and scout troop tickets is at www.harlemglobetrotters.com.